The World as We Know It – Daphne Gerou

The following images are of Daphne Gerou’s exhibition The World as We Know It which ran from November 24 to December 15, 2012.

View of Paradise Lost, First Contact: The Tempest and in the background After the End (or Return of the Unicorns)

First Contact: The Tempest

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Interview with Daphne Gerou

Line Gallery: Why do you think you came to focus on drawing as opposed to another medium?

Daphne Gerou:
To be honest I started out painting. First with oils, then later on I gravitated towards water media, using a combination of inks and acrylics on paper. At this stage my work was very much like drawing except that I was using wet media rather than dry. Once I had finished art school, I kept working this way for a couple of years, and even though I was producing some good work, work that I was relatively happy with at least, it was always a bit of a struggle. I was never fully comfortable with the medium, and one day in the studio I just got fed up and started a pencil drawing to distract myself. I ended up working on this drawing for several hours and it was like a weight lifting off my back. When the drawing was complete, I drew several more in the same vein, and started to develop the graphite technique that I am still using today. I haven’t entirely abandoned the idea of painting, but since that day, probably around nine years ago now, drawing has been my primary focus. It’s always challenging, but it is also where I am most at ease.

 

LG: Why do you think drawing is important in contemporary art or as a practice?

DG: If we think back to early societies, the small-scale tribal and village societies that is, mark-making is probably the first form of human creative expression. The motivation may have been a spiritual one; for instance, the replication of animals, of hunting, of bounty, was likely a means to ensure good fortune for the group. Regardless of motivation though, people have been drawing from very early on, whether using sticks to draw in wet clay or applying soot to the walls of a cave. Written language, one of the most important developments of any early society, is also drawing. In fact, outside of the Roman and Cyrillic alphabets, many cultures use pictures to communicate words or thoughts. Hieroglyphs are the best example, but there are many others, including the alphabet of modern China. Once painting began to develop in the Western world, drawing appears to have taken a back seat for awhile. Although artists were still drawing, these works were rarely presented as ‘finished’ pieces. They were practice pieces, sketches and thumbnails prepared for the subsequent completion of a painting.

Skipping over the mid twentieth century, the Modernist artists inadvertently turned painting into the pinnacle of artistic expression. Since that time, painting has continued to dominate the overall art market, while new media, installations and site specific sculpture have found their way into museums as representatives of contemporary art. Drawing, on the other hand, remains a somewhat peripheral practice, which is odd since most artists draw at one time or another. In the past decade I’ve noticed that every so often drawing becomes very popular, with galleries focusing specifically on showing drawings and other works on paper. Unfortunately, these tend to be the passing trends of a fickle art market. This is why it is important for artists to continue promoting that drawing is a medium of no less importance than any other. We’ve never really stopped drawing as a whole, it just got downgraded to a ‘lesser’ medium over time. This downgrade can actually be traced back to the Renaissance but that’s a thesis in itself so I’ll leave it at that.

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Daphne Gerou Reception

On November 24, 2012 Line Gallery hosted Daphne Gerou’s reception.

Daphne Gerou's reception with First Contact and Arrival of the Reaper in the background.

Daphne Gerou's reception with Country Landscape with Planes and After the End in the background.